Ca’ the Yowes to the Knowes

Heather in the knowes.

There are a number of versions of this song collected and edited by Robert Burns. The one below was his second effort as he was not satisfied with the first. He produced it while on a solitary evening stroll in September 1794.  “Ca’ the Yowes to the Knowes” can be translated as “Drive the Sheep (ewes) to the Hills.” The “Clouden” is a tributary of the river Nith and the “silent towers” are the ruins of Lincluden Abbey. Here it is sung by The Three Graces.

Ca’ the Yowes

Ca’ the yowes to the knowes,
Ca’ them where the heather grows,
Ca’ them where the burnie rowes,
My bonnie dearie.

Hark, the mavis e’ening sang
Sounding Clouden’s woods amang
Then a-faulding let us gang.
My bonie dearie.

We’ll gae down by Clouden side,
Thro the hazels, spreading wide
O’er the waves that sweetly glide
To the moon sae clearly.

Yonder Clouden’s silent towers
Where, at moonshine’s midnight hours,
O’er the dewy bending flowers
Fairies dance sae cheery.

Ghaist nor bogle shalt thou fear
Thou’rt to Love and Heav’n sae dear
Nocht of ill may come thee near,
My bonnie dearie.


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